Letters To The Editor


December 25, 2003

State standards for appliances hurt consumers

The Sun's article "Ehrlich vetoes to face scrutiny" (Dec. 18) incorrectly states that only one group opposed the energy efficiency bill. The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) and our member companies actively opposed this bill from the day it was introduced.

We testified against the bill along with four other industry associations when it was considered by each chamber of the Maryland legislature. We still strongly oppose this bill and urge the legislature not to override the governor's veto.

AHAM does not support state energy efficiency standards because of our fundamental belief that standards for appliances must be issued at the federal level to avoid the creation of a patchwork of dissimilar standards that would force manufacturers to produce different products for each state and significantly limit consumer choice.

Furthermore, national standards are preferable because they are developed with all stakeholders, including energy and environmental groups, consumers and manufacturers, at the table.

Legislators who voted for the bill failed to recognize the negative impact the law would have on small businesses that provide laundry equipment to apartments, dormitories and coin-operated laundries because its accelerated energy efficiency and water-use requirements would prevent most moderately priced, top-loading washers from being sold in Maryland.

More costly machines would result in higher fees for consumers, typically students or the elderly, who rely on these facilities to do their laundry.

Joseph M. McGuire


The writer is president of the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers.

Sharon's wall keeps the terrorists away

Mike Lane's editorial cartoon in Monday's Sun was a despicable distortion of the truth.

The separation between Israelis and Palestinians is necessary only because of the level of terror Israelis have had to endure for three years.

Unlike the wise men, who carried fragrant gifts, Palestinian visitors to Israel are not always so peaceful. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has an obligation to make sure that if the vessels the "wise men" carry contain explosives, they don't reach the citizens of Israel.

Susan Vick


Mike Lane has it all wrong in his cartoon Monday that blames Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for impeding passage of the three wise men.

In fact, the security fence prevents terrorists from blowing up Israeli men, women and children. Its effectiveness is documented by the significant decrease in bombings where the barrier is complete.

A more appropriate caption would have been for Mr. Lane to label the fence "Arafat's Wall."

Geoffrey E. Greene


Why didn't we use diplomacy in Iraq?

It is good news indeed that Libya has agreed to give up its nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. According to news reports, this happened because of "secret diplomacy" on the part of U.S. and British officials with Libyan leader Col. Muammar el Kadafi ("Secret diplomacy led to Libyan deal," Dec. 21). One wonders why such negotiations didn't happen with Iraq more than one year ago.

The leaders of both Libya and Iraq were clearly men who destroyed rather than valued life, and sanctions against these countries were working. So why did we invade Iraq? Why wasn't secret diplomacy tried with Iraq?

If only the United States had worked out an arrangement with Iraq similar to the one with Libya, all those military personnel and Iraqis killed in this unwarranted aggression would still be around to hug their families.

Jeanne M. Ruddock


War hasn't stopped the threat of terror

Now that the Department of Homeland Security is giving out a high-level terrorist alert, once again, it is interesting to speculate what our government might have achieved in routing Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida by using the billions of dollars a month that we are wasting in Iraq as the result of the Bush administration's invasion and occupation of that country ("U.S. raises terror alert," Dec. 22).

Of course, the capture of Saddam Hussein has absolutely no bearing on the huge opportunity that has been given to terrorist groups to operate in that country and steadily chip away at our exposed forces there.

Worse yet, very recent violence among the Iraqis themselves strongly suggests that the country is spiraling downward into civil war. And still there is no evidence of weapons of mass destruction or cooperation with terrorist groups in pre-invasion Iraq.

Edward Leslie Ansel

Owings Mills

Wind power may be better for the birds

As Maryland moves forward, I hope, with the development of wind power, a close examination of The Sun's article "Bird kills in the thousands stir opposition to wind turbines" (Dec. 17) actually bears out the efficacy of this clean, renewable energy source.

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